Last night I was cooking dinner and my son was watching at the bench, playing with his tea set. My husband came over to sit with him and I asked him to play along with Hudson. His reply, much to my surprise was ‘ummm no, tea parties are for girls’. I was furious, why would he say such a thing? I’m even embarrassed to write it now. My husband is very accepting and supportive, but when I heard him say this I was disappointed. Tea parties are about teaching social interactions and imaginitive play.
Why would anyone say that about a boy playing tea party? Yet, if a girl kicks a football or plays with cars, its ok? I don’t agree with any stereotypes and I don’t want my children to be subjected to them either.
My husband is a bricklayer so I’m not sure if his blokish, on site, tough man behaviour just took over. However, I want my children to grow up in a household that is welcoming and supportive of whatever decisions they make and whatever they want to be. Hudson often plays with his toys and nurses them like babies because that’s what he sees his dad and I doing with his baby sister. Is this behaviour just for girls? Only for mum’s? No way, this shows he is caring and will one day make a good parent.
One thing my husband did explain to me is that he never played tea parties when he was younger, so he didn’t really know how to play. I have noticed that a lot of how he plays with my son is very masculine – cars, building things and wrestling. I guess I will probably struggle with similar issues when my daughter wants to play catch or hit a ball. I am so very uncoordinated, there is no doubt I will feel like I am out of my comfort zone. It’s because when I was young, sport didn’t interest me. Probably in the same way tea parties didn’t interest my husband.
Being a parent is hard work. All the single parents and same sex couples would have to step out of their comfort zones all the time. Yet, here I find myself arguing with my husband about a tea party. Looking back, perhaps I judged my husband too quickly for what he said. I know he loves his family more than anything and would do anything for us.
I will provide support and interactions for our children in ways that he can’t and vice versa. I guess that’s why it’s called a partnership. While he knows the ‘it’s for girls’ comment wasn’t appropriate and I don’t want him to say it again. I appreciate that eventually he did have a tea party and Hudson was happy.